on Job 7 :2
Earnestly desireth the shadow - As a man who labors hard in the heat of the day earnestly desires to get under a shade, or wishes for the long evening shadows, that he may rest from his labor, get his day's wages, retire to his food, and then go to rest. Night is probably what is meant by the shadow; as in Virgil, Aen. iv., ver. 7:
Humentemque Aurora polo dimoverat Umbram.
"The morning had removed the humid shadow, i.e., night, from the world."
Where Servius justly observes:
Nihil interest, utrum Umbram an Noctem dicat: Nox enim Umbra terrae est,
"It makes no difference whether he says shadow or night; for night is the shadow of the earth."
on Job 7 :2
As a servant earnestly desireth - Margin, gapeth after. The word here שׁאף shâ'aph means to breathe hard, to pant, to blow, and then to desire earnestly.
The shadow - This may refer either to a shade in the intense heat of the day, or to the night. Nothing is more grateful in oriental countries, when the sun pours down intensely on burning sands, than the shadow of a tree, or the shade of a projecting rock. The editor of the Pictorial Bible on this verse remarks, "We think we can say, that next to water, the greatest and deepest enjoyment we could ever realize in the hot climates of the East was, when on a journey, any circumstance of the road brought us for a few minutes under some shade. Its reviving influence upon the bodily frame, and consequently upon the spirits, is inconceivable by one who has not had some experience of the kind. Often also during the hall of a caravan in the open air, when the writer has been enabled to secure a station for repose under the shelter of a rock or of an old wall, has his own exultation and strong sense of luxurious enjoyment reminded him of this and other passages of Scripture, in which shade is mentioned as a thing punted for with intense desire." Probably here, however, the reference is to the shades of night, the time when darkness falls upon the earth, and the servant is released from his toil. It is common in all languages to speak of night as enveloped with shadows. Thus, Virgil, En. iv. 7:
Humentemque aurora polo dimoverat urnbram.
The meaning of Job is, that as a servant looked impatiently for the shades of the evening when he would be dismissed from toil, so he longed for death.
And as an hireling looketh - That is, he anxiously desires his work to be finished, and expects the reward of his labors. So Job looked to the reward of a life of toil and piety. Is there not here an undoubted reference to a future state? Is it not manifest that Job looked to some recompense in the future world, as real and as sure, as a hired servant looks for the reward of his toils when his work is done?
on Job 7 :2
7:2 Shadow - That is, the sun - set, the time allotted for his rest.